Greece gets enough to avoid another bailout trauma

IMF director Christine Lagarde promised a $2-billion loan that will disburse when specific debt relief measures are defined

"I am pleased to announce we have achieved an agreement on all elements", said Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem. Some debt repayments could be delayed by 15 years. Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, left, speaks with Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan during a meeting at the office of the European Stability Mechanism in Luxembourg on Thursday, June 15, 2017.

While conceding that Greece didn't get everything it wanted, Tsakalotos said the country could now turn the page on its bailout era.

The European Union's top economy official says it's time for the Greek people to see the "light at the end of the tunnel of austerity".

Perhaps more importantly for the longer term, the so-called Eurogroup made clear that it is ready to ease the burden of Greece's debt repayments at the conclusion of the current bailout program next year.

"If growth is better than expected, Greece will be able to accelerate its repayments".

Greece's short-dated government bond yields fell to their lowest since 2014 on Friday after eurozone governments threw Athens a credit lifeline worth 8.5 billion euros and sketched out new details on possible debt relief. A senior lawmaker from Germany's center-left Social Democrats also added to the uncertainty by calling for a full parliamentary debate on the deal, in a challenge to Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble who deems such a debate unnecessary.

However, problems in Greece persist despite austerity measure created to get the country's finances back on track.

The protest came ahead of a meeting in Luxembourg later Thursday of the 19 finance ministers from the European countries that use the euro.

The Greek government, whose popularity has fallen sharply as it imposed more austerity measures, faced more criticism Thursday when more than 2,000 older protesters marched through Athens to demonstrate against pension cuts.

"We recognize that we did not want the ideal to be the enemy of the good", he said.

"We can't live on 300 euros ($334)!" they chanted, with some waving sticks. "This is a second-best solution, but it's not a bad solution", said Lagarde, a former French finance minister. Before deciding whether to participate in the latest deal, the International Monetary Fund still wants more information over the sustainability of Greece's debt in the longer term and the debt relief on offer- its views are still different to the eurozone's. AIP would also entail that IMF-managed resources would be supplied to the debt-stricken nation, conditional on the European creditors' ability to provide sufficient debt relief commitments for securing debt sustainability.

After three bailouts, Greece's debt now stands at a staggering 180 per cent of annual output, by far the biggest national debt pile in Europe. Before deciding whether to participate in the latest deal, the International Monetary Fund has wanted more information over the sustainability of Greece's debt in the long term.

The country, which has been promised help on its mountain of debt once its bailout ends next year, is again the main topic of discussion at a meeting of the so-called eurogroup Thursday.

The expectation is Greece will get the roughly 7 billion euros ($7.8 billion) due, but will struggle to clinch the outlines of a debt relief deal that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras thinks is crucial for the country's economy in the long-term.

Without the IMF's agreement that the debt is sustainable, Greece can not have its bonds included in European Central Bank's bond-buying program known as quantitative easing, a promise Tsipras' government has been making for months and a move that would lower Greece's borrowing costs.



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